Inspiring Spaces: A View of the Garden
Freshstyle Magazine, Mar.-April 2014
When Kurt and Lisa Mertler began searching for and collecting old windows to build a greenhouse, materials came in fits and starts. Fortunately, some generous friends replaced the windows in their homes and gave the Mertlers the old ones. Then they found some at garage sales. The oldest window came from Kurt’s family farmhouse, built in 1875. With 62 windows in all and a recycled door on each end, people from at least five separate homes have peered through the glass that comprises the Mertlers’ greenhouse. While Lisa first conceived of the greenhouse after finding something similar on Pinterest, Kurt wasn’t sure it would be possible. Gathering the necessary materials was one thing, but having time to build it was another. When Kurt lost his job, however, he used his newfound free time to put his handyman skills to work. In the six weeks he was out of work their backyard became home to the new greenhouse.
Labor of Love: Kurt, whose work in commercial heating and air conditioning gave him a familiarity with construction, put his creative side to work while planning the space. “You just had to lay the windows out and see what you have to work with,” he says. While he set about building, Lisa painted the window trim white.The result is a fully-functioning greenhouse that complements their rural surroundings in central Ohio. Kurt left gaps in the floorboards to ease clean-up, and made the space complete with lights discarded by a local school and a weather vein made by his grandfather.
Looking Glass: The Mertler greenhouse has become a local point of interest, and cars slow down as they drive by. As the spring and summer bring a crop of sunflowers on their seven acres, Lisa uses the greenhouse to cultivate a greater variety of flora. “I love flowers,” she says. “Now that I have the greenhouse I’ll plant a lot more annuals and things that I can plant from seed.” Peering through the old glass, the colorful new flowers offer the ideal addition to the patchwork of fields outside.